Thailand’s master water plan given green light

21-06-2019
Thailand

The cabinet has given the go-ahead for a 20-year master plan for water management, aimed at solving Thailand's chronic drought, flood and wastewater problems.

The plan is the "second of four pillars" which set concrete targets for officials, Somkiat Prachamwong, secretary-general of the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) said after a cabinet meeting yesterday.

The plan targets supplying clean water to 75,032 villages by 2030, solving floods and droughts in 66 areas covering 34.6 million rai, building more than 541,000 small dams, and restoring 3.5 million rai of watershed areas.

These targets are based on six strategies. They are the management of water use; security of water production; inundation control; water quality conservation; afforestation in watershed areas; prevention of soil damage; and managerial approach.

The master plan, which will run until 2037, will serve as a "map" for Mr Somkiat's office, which is itself also the third pillar, founded on an order issued by the National Council for Peace and Order in 2017.

Earlier this year, the first pillar, the 2018 Water Resources Act came into force on January 27.

The third pillar was "born to reduce redundancy", caused by more than 40 water agencies across seven ministries, Mr Somkiat said.

"We'll regulate, drive the master plan and evaluate outcomes," he said.

"Water management must be conducted in a sustainable way."

The government yesterday also stressed the importance of the fourth pillar -- the need to bring in new ideas and technologies to address water problems.

Many water projects that have played a key role in limiting drought damage to crops and protecting people against severe flooding will also receive further significant funding, according to Mr Somkiat.